This article was written for the Jewelry News Network blog, by Chris Benham, and Angelka Vegar
Why do jewelry stores cluster together in the same place? Go to Bond Street in London, and you’ll find the likes of Cartier, De Beers, and Tiffany & Co., all vying for your attention. Head down to Hatton Garden in London and you’ll find a lineup of jewelry stores complete with an eager jewelry salesperson trying to entice you in. However, Bond Street and Hatton Garden, as well as the Diamond District in New York, are more than a geographic location—they are in fact brands.
The reason jewelry stores set up in these areas is that when competing or complementary businesses band together under a central brand, whether that be Bond Street, Hatton Garden, or the Diamond District, everyone benefits from increased sales. Buyers flock towards the central brand to browse and buy their dream piece of jewelry. The association with a globally recognized central brand is not at the expense of the individual brands that are connected to it. Far from it. The value of each brand increases by way of positioning themselves within an esteemed group and ensuring everyone knows where they are situated.
In the online retail world, standing out from the crowd can be even more challenging as there’s no inherent ‘foot traffic’ to tap into when companies launch their online store. They are mostly at the mercy of Google, which actually isn’t that good for product shopping. This is why bringing central brands online is trending. There are of course lots of online directories that tap into the online “foot traffic” of a destination location such as Hatton Garden but few go deeper and offer customers the ability to search products across all stores. Amazon is good for searching for products but brands lose their identity on there so many luxury brands tend to shy away.
So what are progressive jewelers doing to ensure they are ready to take advantage of this trend? They are becoming experts in their chosen niche. Niche experts, such as the Fair Trade Jewellery Company in Toronto and their passionate, considered and in depth knowledge of the stakeholders in their supply chain, allow them to stand out from the crowd while at the same time connecting with the collective Fair Trade movement.
By establishing a niche, jewelry retailers are maintaining margins in an online world where consumers have access to products from all over the world. In addition, operating within a niche provides an opportunity for jewelers to grow their audience. Where once a retailer was limited by their geographical boundaries and lack in numbers to service a niche, now, by adopting a multi-channel strategy which includes physical retail and eCommerce, they can tap into already-established communities of customers around the globe who are passionate about what they are selling. And by joining collectives, jewelers can effectively sell to the converted.
The online retail world is set to increasingly mirror the physical one, with collective brands surfacing in ever increasing numbers. Before your trip to New York you’ll be jumping online to find products from your favorite brands, or discover new brands, before even setting foot in The Big Apple. Or maybe you don’t have the luxury of a trip to New York and that’s okay too, because in the future of retail, you can bring the Diamond District to your very own living room.